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Quito

 



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Quito’s Centro Histórico is a well-preserved colonial city built upon the ruins of an ancient Incan settlement and was named the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978.

Dominated by Pichincha Volcano and surrounded by Andean mountains—in fact from Quito you can see 14 active and non active volcanoes over 13.000 feet—few countries in South America can boast such a dramatic location for their capital. Centro Histórico is the heart of Quito and is full of churches, museums, plazas, and incredible vistas full of immense beauty and historical significance.

Only 40 kilometers south of the Equator, Quito’s weather is spring-like year round, but divided into two seasons; wet and dry. During the wet season it rains for a few hours most afternoons. Quito’s high altitude of 2,800 m means it can become quite cold in the evenings and during the afternoon storms.

Another impressive site in Quito is the ornate baroque façade of La Compañía de Jesus carved entirely out of volcanic stone and only outshined by it’s interior, decorated with over fifty kilograms of gold leaf. Constructed between 1605 and 1765, the church is by far the most ornate and embellished of all the sites in Quito. It is located on Calle Garcia Moreno and is open on Monday to Friday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m with a small entrance fee.

Plaza Grande, or Plaza de la Independencia, is an ideal place to spend an afternoon relaxing, or exploring the stores and museums surrounding the square. Every Monday at 11:00 a.m., locals and tourists gather in front of the Presidential Palace to watch the changing of the guards, a ceremony full of elaborate uniforms, horses, music, and uniformed school children standing at attention against the backdrop of Vulcán Pichincha.

Near the Panecillo is the pedestrian only Calle La Ronda, one of the oldest streets in Quito with pastel colored colonial architecture, cobblestones, and art galleries. In the evenings, live music and vats of hot wine and canelazo pop up in entryways. The street usually has a few security guards in the evenings who are willing to help tourists secure a taxi for their trip home.

The large cobblestone expanse of Plaza San Francisco, used for centuries as a trading center for indigenous groups, is framed by the white Monastery of San Francisco and Vulcán Pichincha, making it both one of the most impressive and oldest sights in all of Quito. Today, the Tianguez Gift Shop is a fair trade organization located next to the Church of San Francisco and is a good place to shop and support local indigenous artisans. It is open from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. High on a hill in the northeastern part of Centro Histórico is La Basílica de Voto Nacional, a gothic church built over several decades beginning in 1926. Animals native to Ecuador such as iguanas and tortoises peer out from the church’s exterior walls. The towers, with a small admission fee, provide an impressive view of the city and are one of the highlights of Quito. It is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Teleferico is Quito’s newest tourist attraction. The Teleferico is built over an area of 160 hectares on the skirts of Pichincha and the summit of Cruz Loma. It has different services that include an amusement park.

The Teleferico itself gives every visitor a spectacular view of the city and its surroundings including more than 14 peaks of the Andes (known as the Avenue of the Volcanoes). The Teleferico reaches 4100 meters on the summit of Cruz Loma.

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  Suggested Itineraries
 
Volcanoes & Galapagos Safari

This extraordinary 13 day tour of the senses through Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands begins in Quito, and then heads south exploring the Avenue of the Volcanoes. Explore the Andean History and culture at every stop, visiting the quaint villages of
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Amazon Lodge & Ave of Volcanoes

This journey through Ecuador’s Highlands and Amazon Jungle will allow you to enjoy the very best culture, history, flora and fauna that Ecuador has to offer. You will start in the Andean highlands along the Avenue of the Volcanos visiting quant villages of
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Volcanoes & Eclipse Galapagos Cruise

This journey begins through Ecuador’s Highlands along the Avenue of the Volcanoes. Explore the National park near Cotacachi, visiting quant villages and markets in
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Casa Gangotena

Situated in a newly-restored historic mansion overlooking Plaza San Francisco in Quito, the three-story Casa Gangotena h...
 

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Le Parc

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Mansion del Angel

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